Tyranny from a Torah Viewpoint

Non Jews can be righteous and share eternal life. Tyrants represent a specific form of evil from a Jewish perspective.

Myles Kantor,

Arutz 7

I recently saw the documentary Kimjongilia, which examines the despotic crime family that has enslaved North Korea since 1948. Early in the film, victims of the regime state about "Eternal Leader Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994:

• "They had us all worship him as a god."

• "Christians say grace before their meals. We said grace to Kim Il Sung."

• "He was like a supreme being."

This is hideous by any reasonable perspective. Considered from a Judaic perspective, there is a very specific evil here.

Judaism does not threaten damnation for everyone who is not Jewish. On the contrary, righteous gentiles have a share in eternal life. As Rabbi Yishayahu Hollander has noted, “You can be a G-dfearing and G-d-serving person without being Jewish.”

The universal standards Judaism obligates gentiles to follow are called the Seven Noahide Laws.

Among these laws are the prohibition of murder, theft, and idolatry. The Jewish sage Maimonides wrote of their observance, “Everyone who accepts the Seven Laws and is careful to do them, this person is one of the very pious of the nations of the world, and he has portion in the world to come.”

For over half a century, the North Korean regime has perpetrated mass murder and plunder based on an idolatrous ideology. It is no surprise to read recent reports about North Korea arming Iran. This goes hand in hand with North Korean involvement in Syria's attempt at nuclear menace before Israel destroyed the Al Kibar site in 2007. North Korea likewise maintains close relations with the anti- Semitic dictatorship in Cuba.

Speaking in 2008 about neighboring China, Rabbi Eli Mansour discussed human rights violations including violent birth control, organ theft from political prisoners, and mass expulsions before the Beijing Olympics:

When you watch the Olympics, you don't see any of this...You see the stadium, you see all the formalities, the national anthems. You see flags waving. You get a good feeling. But you have to know behind this is bloodshed. Behind this is violence. Behind this is the worst avonot (sins) taking place in such a country...That's what happens to a society that's godless...a society for two thousand years that has not been influenced by the Tanakh (Bible).

In a similar conscientious spirit, in 2007 Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ruled that Jews are forbidden to receive organ transplants from China, which would be a Chilul HaShem (Desecration of G-d's Name).

During a discussion of the Noahide Laws, former Israeli Supreme Court justice Tzvi Tal noted their “severe injunction against bloodshed.”

Former Israeli deputy attorney general Nahum Rakover observed concerning Nazi Germany's subjugation of Jews based on legislation, “It is not enough that a nation will have a legal system.” (See http://www.ijc.com.au/politics-society-religion.html.)

Thus, Judaism rejects the notion that the existence of human law equals the validity of human law.

There is a higher, ultimate law that human enactments cannot supersede. As Jews catastrophically experienced throughout the centuries, tyranny is at root a form of violence— indeed, uniquely systematic violence.

Regimes like North Korea are organized crime entities on a colossal level. In the language of the Bible, they are a congregation of the wicked (Psalm 26:5) who cannot sleep without committing evil (Proverbs 4:16). These sadists and murderers have power for now, but the Bible is very clear on their ultimate fate (Psalms 11:5-6 and 92:8, Ecclesiastes 3:16-17).